Does this Make Me an Extremist?

>> Friday, October 1, 2010

Fist , I'd like to tell you that I just love reading your blog and every answer refreshes me!!
I have read most of the questions you've answered, including the niqab question.
My question is related to that.

You have listed out various problems a niqabi can face, but my problem is different. I feel shy when I wear the niqab.(+gloves n socks)

I am from India, and here, people are not so aware of what a proper hijab is. I used to wear an abaya just while going out. But last year, I statred wearing hijab and that was not a problem at all. Recently, I just did some ''research'' on whether niqab is obligatory or not and I decided to start wearing it all times ( obviously in front of non mahrams only) .
When I wear niqab outdoors, it's absolutely fine, as many people do it, so I don't feel like an alien.
My problems is at home, in college and at parties and gatherings. People don't realize that my cousin, my sister's hubby or my uncle ( aunt's hubby) is also a non mahram for me. When I try to wear niqaab indoors, they ( my own brother, for example) give me weird looks and ask me not to go to the extremes ( as there are opinions that niqaab is'nt obligatory).

I don't feel encouraged at all, I feel discouraged all the time. People cannot change with me, I accept this, but I feel they must respect my decision to change. I was a big sinner, but that doesn't mean that I cannot be giuded by Allah!

My cousin, with whom I used to be like I am with my own brother, and other non mahrams literally get scared when they see me!!!

All this makes me so self conscious that I IMMEDIATELY panic( i don't show it) and remove my niqaab, and then feel terribly guilty and it shows on my face that I am sooo irritated. So people think I am confused within myself and an ''extremist''!

There's another problem. When I am home, or even in my room, any of my cousin or my sister's hubby just rush in and I am in there, with no hijaab, looking to hide somewhere!

All this is really upsetting me a lot. My brothers say, '' Are you mad, he's( my cousin) just your brother!!'' My sister makes me feel the same with her husband. ''It's just him, don't go overboard''. At that moment, in a hurry, I cannot explain to them that he's my non mahram!

At home, many times, I have to be locked in for hours. I can't eat, drink or even use the wash room...he he!! Now going to the fridge wearing a niqaab can be ridiculous for them.

I wanna be a complete niqaabi. Now what do I do in such situations. Please note that the mixing of men and women won't stop here and men will enter without permission.

My mom understands but she cannot do anything about it.

How do I give an answer to people who tell me, ''It's just him!''

How do I respond when people remind me of my sinful past just to make me feel as if I am still worthless.

I am a very shy person and I am always wondering what the other person is thinking about me.
I avoid most of the parties and gatherings and parties, but I can't avoid all ( if my father asks me to come etc.)

At parties, it's a very ''wrong'' thing if you DONT wear makeup according to people, so you have to be well dressed too!!!
I am very scared of showing off in matters of religion, and I my mother has clearly told me that wearing gloves ( and niqaab infront of relatives) is showin off..
I know in my heart how hard I try not to show off..!!

Please help.
Dear Sis,
MashaAllah, it’s wonderful that you decided to do research and have decided to wear nicaab. :D May Allah keep you steadfast and make it easy for you.

Now, let’s just say I was smiling from ear to ear when I saw your question. No, I don’t enjoy other people’s pain and I’m not belittling what you’re going through. It’s just that I can really and boy do I mean R.E.A.L.L.Y. relate to what you’re asking. I know how tough it is. But you know what- we’re going to try our best to help you.

The truth is I understand both sides…where you’re family is coming from and where you are. In this post 9/11 world, the word ‘extremism” just keeps bouncing around…. But how do we truly know whether we’re becoming extreme or just taking a deeper interest in Islam?

It’s simple.

We return to the Quran, Sunnah, and the example of the Righteous Predecessors. We can’t just decide ourselves. And that’s where most people get a little confused, including your family. (This is actually one of the big issues if you can clear up, everything else should get a little easier. )

Let me give you an example to make it a little clearer. . I mean, if you told your classmate, Jessica, for example: “Hey Jess. You know- no matter how irritating my mother is to me…even if she like uses vulgar language with me… or she gives me an unrealistic list of chores…as a Muslim, I’m not allowed to roll my eyes at her, let alone say “Ugh”. That’s considered a major sin.” You know what Jess might call that?

But the Quran clearly tells us that’s not the case (I’m sure you’re familiar with that verse in surat Al Isra since most parents love to recite it ;)).

Another example… What if you tell your Muslim friend that when she’s making wudoo, she needs to be very careful to make sure she gets everything wet properly and that if she leaves the space of a quarter dry, her wudoo isn’t actually right. Your friend might mistakenly tell you: Hey, that’s extreme. Allah is Merciful. He’s not going to judge us on something as small as that.

But the Prophet (sallah Allah alayhee wa salaam) told us very frankly in a hadith that it’s not acceptable.

One final example, I promise. Let’s say you told your dad you want to change your life and from now on, you’re going to try your best to fast a day, then skip a day and so on so on. Your dad might tell you: That’s pretty extreme. But according to the Prophet (sallah Allah alayhee wa salaam) that’s the way Dawood (alayhee as salaam) used to fast and it was actually the best kind of fast.

My point in all of this: that what defines extremism isn’t us. It’s whether or not the action would have been approved by the Prophet (sallah Allah alayhee wa salaam). And we know whether something would have been approved by looking at the Quran, at his own sunnah, and at the best examples there are (the Companions and their followers).
I know you know all of this, but you need to try to bring this up with your family because if you can get them to see this point, you’ve already won half the battle. Again, the idea is doing extra good deeds approved by the Prophet (sallah Allah alyahee wa salaam) and scholars of the ummah, isn’t extreme. Praying sunnah isn’t extreme, right? Fasting on Monday and Thursday isn’t extreme either, right? Similarly, wearing nicaab isn’t extreme. Yes, some scholars think that it isn’t obligatory- but that makes it 'extra', not 'extreme'. At the very least you are doing what is considered an ‘extra credit’ kinda thing- a bonus project! Ma’shaAllah.

So what should you do when your family tells you: Hey, it’s just your cousin, or your brother-in-law, etc. If you’re sure you want to wear nicaab, then the most important thing is that you don’t take it off so you don’t give your family mixed signals. Why is it so important? Because the minute you’ve taken it off, you have given your family the impression the nicaab is negotiable. The next time X passes by, your family is going to pressure you to take it off again and they’re probably going to use the fact that you took it off last time as ammunition. They can’t understand how serious you are about it unless you find it within yourself to decline to take it off.
What else?

It’s time to get your Quran out. I’m serious. In a very respectful manner, tell your family that you understand they think you’re being a little extreme but you’d like to have a chance to explain your position. Then, pull out the Quran or a translation of the meanings of it and open up to Surah-An Nur, Ayah 31. Have them read the aya and very gently point out that this ayah gives all of the exceptions.

And say to the faithful women to lower their gazes, and to guard their private parts, and not to display their beauty except what is apparent of it, and to extend their headcoverings (khimars) to cover their bosoms (jaybs), and not to display their beauty except to their husbands, or their fathers, or their husband's fathers, or their sons, or their husband's sons, or their brothers, or their brothers' sons, or their sisters' sons, or their womenfolk, or what their right hands rule (slaves), or the followers from the men who do not feel sexual desire (elderly men), or the small children to whom the nakedness of women is not apparent, and not to strike their feet (on the ground) so as to make known what they hide of their adornments. And turn in repentance to Allah together, O you the faithful, in order that you are successful

Subhan Allah- Allah didn’t leave us to guess who to wear hijaab/ nicaab in front of. This is one of the most detailed ayahs in the Quran. It very clearly explains who can see a woman’s beauty and who can’t, including elderly men and young boys. Does it include cousins? Nope. Brother-in-laws? Nope again. Is this important? Definitely- when you think about it, actually, Allah didn’t just leave us with a hadith or one of the Companion’s explanations. He spoke about this matter directly and He included it in His Quran. That’s how important it is.

The next thing you need to do is to take your sister on the side and explain that you are really uncomfortable with your brother-in-law entering unannounced. Tell her that you know he thinks of you as a younger sister but rules are rules and this rule was put down by Allah, the Creator, who knows us best. Remind your sister there is a very serious hadith about inlaws.

The Prophet (sallah Allah alayhee wa salaam) said, ‘Brother-in-law is death”.

Death! That’s how serious it is. Again, tell her it isn’t anything personal but you don’t want anyone to be upset on the Day of Judgment. If she seems really hurt or surprised, you can soften the blow by emphasizing how Islam is such a practical religion that the Prophet (sallah Allah alyahee was salaam) told us to separate between brothers and sisters in the bedroom (we’re talking real brothers this time,lol) when they reach age 10. At the end of the day, all you’re asking for is for your brother-in-law to knock on the door and give you time to dress appropriately. That’s not really that much. If your sister still doesn’t seem convinced/ cooperative, tell her that you’re sorry but you are going to have to lock the door.

Next thing…you need to talk to your brother about your cousin. Again, remind him that as Muslims, we’re supposed to submit completely to Allah’s Commands. Remind him that as much as you might not think of your cousin sexually, he still isn’t your brother and there are limits. In a firm but gentle manner, ask him to respect the fact you’re trying your best to please Allah and you would like his support.

As for your cousins being scared of you—well, obviously since they’re not your mahrams, theyshouldn’t be hanging out with you as a buddy anymore, right, but I do understand how painful it must be to have your family treating you as someone scary. All you have to do is keeping wearing it. They’ll get used to it! It takes time…but soon, they won’t get into a full blown panic when they see you.

About showing off…. MashaAllah! It’s great that you’re so worried about it. The truth is it seems to me that you are not a show off because a show off wouldn’t care if they were a show off, now would they? I hate to disagree with your mother and I mean no disrespect, but I don’t think that wearing gloves is ‘showing off’. Showing off is something that is in your heart- if you sincerely believe that you are the best and that everyone else is a sinner and is ‘beneath’ you, then you’ve got a problem…but if you are just trying to follow an opinion that nicaab and wearing gloves is obligatory/wajib/a good extra thing to do, all you’re showing is commitment to Allah. You’re struggling in His path…just keep checking your heart and inshaAllah you’ve got nothing to worry about!

Finally, don’t listen to those people who keep putting you down because you didn’t have a perfect past. Tell them you know you weren’t exactly a role model, but you’re trying now to change and you hope they can help. Remind them that some of the Sahaba (alayhum as salaam) had their own problems in the past but with Allah’s Guidance, became the best people. I mean the people in the Prophet’s time used to say it was more likely for Omar’s (Radiya Allah anhoo) donkey to become Muslim than him to embrace Islam…and look at who Omar (radiya Allah anhoo) ended up becoming! The man the Prophet (sallah Allahoo alahyee wa salaam) said would have been a prophet if there was supposed to be a messenger after him (alayhee as salaam). This link might also help:

Wishing you all the best and may you be among those whom Allah shades on the Day of Judgment,

Your Sis,

p.s. An example of ‘extremism’, in case you’re wondering, would be like deciding to do ghusl/take a bath for every prayer.

Other examples in this hadith:

Narrated Anas bin Malik: A group of three men came to the houses of the wives of the Prophet asking how the Prophet worshipped (Allah), and when they were informed about that, they considered their worship insufficient and said, "Where are we from the Prophet as his past and future sins have been forgiven."

Then one of them said, "I will offer the prayer throughout the night forever.” The other said, "I will fast throughout the year and will not break my fast.“ The third said, "I will keep away from the women and will not marry forever."
Allah's Apostle came to them and said, "Are you the same people who said so-and-so? By Allah, I am more submissive to Allah and more afraid of Him than you; yet I fast and break my fast, I do sleep and I also marry women. So he who does not follow my tradition in religion, is not from me (not one of my followers)."

Another hadith:

Anas ibn Malik (Radiya Allah Anhoo) reports: “The Prophet ﷺ came one day into the mosque and found a rope stretched between two pillars. He asked what the rope was for. He was told that it was put up for Zainab, so that she would hold on to it during her prayer when she felt too tired. The Prophet said: ‘No. Take it off. Let everyone pray when they feel fresh and comfortable. When they feel tired, they should sit down.’” (Bukhari)

p.s.s Jazaki Allah sis for your kind words about the blog. We love meeting new sisters and we’re glad to have met you!

13 wonderful sprinkely thoughts:

HijabRockers October 1, 2010 at 12:49 PM  

Can i repost this in my blog/fb?

Anonymous,  October 1, 2010 at 7:59 PM  

Assalam o alikum,

first of all i am from Pakistan and boy, and i visit this blog time by time, it's very refreshing mashAlah and jazakAllah for all those who put their effort here.

this problem is very common in India and Pakistan, families who care for full pardha/niqab outside do not consider it obligatory inside home between cousins and brothers in law, because of the family system (living all under same roof, mostly)

i am also having same problem , but as i am boy , it's not that difficult for me since i have to lower my gaze only and not try not to talk much(i am already very shy lol) but for a girl it must be very difficult to observe niqab inside home.

i think we have to fight it ourselves, we youth,, our elders just grew up living mixed together so they cannot realize how important is this issue. Only with a strong faith we can change this culture.(ok ok this was just what all say)

what we can do is ummmmm ahhh if some one knows exactly what to do , i would like to listen very carefully, in my case i am only waiting for right time , to be able to decide things for myself , till then i will just avoid interacting with inside-home-na-mehram unnecessarily , and thats easy(for me).

you can tell me "wait till you marry boy! we'll see how tough you are"

lol! maybe that's why i am not married yet, i cant put my wife(how flattering to say that :D) in same situation like other girls are in, i want to give her full islamic environment, may Allah give me strength to do so and show us A the right path. ameen

p.s: same as hijabrockers asked, can i repost on FB or else just put this link there?

p.s.s: any one can tell me a blog or site of such kind for boys, i read too much of sites all discussing issues of girls(no offense :p) no boys?

Anonymous,  October 1, 2010 at 8:07 PM  

oops! totally forgot to say any thing to encourage the girl in heart piercing situation

May Allah give her strength and strong faith, to follow the right path and give her ajar for her struggles, ameen. be blessed

May Allah give her family members hidaya and understanding of our beautiful deen,

Little Auntie,  October 1, 2010 at 11:33 PM  

Of course, you are both more than welcome to repost it on your blogs/put it on Fb/ whatever you want.

Ameen to the dua for our dear sis.

Unfortunately, I don't actually know of a 'dear uncle' site, lol, or one for boys. The thing is I did primarily create this one with girl's in mind. But you know, you could always start one yourself....

Jazakum Allah koli khair,

Comment Girl,  October 3, 2010 at 9:50 PM  

"Extra, not extreme"--nice.

If you're from India, then you must have a dupatta or a chaadar in your wardrobe. You could wrap that around you and hold one end across your face to go to the bathroom or fridge. Then you wouldn't have to put on the whole niqaab/jilbaab outfit before stepping out of your room. (That can also be convenient if someone comes in unexpectedly--just turn your face to the wall, pull the chaadar around yourself and hold it across your face, and turn back to face the person).

And sitting down with your family members (maybe one person at a time, just your sister or your brother in your room) and explaining to them (after thinking out what you're going to say and asking them to listen to you before voicing what they think about what you've said) why this is important to you. Tell them that you want to please Allah as best as you can and that you observe an "upgraded" purdah because you want Him to be extra pleased with you.

Which brings me to ask, have you upgraded other parts of your life from your "sinful" past? Do you pray five times a day, stay away from backbiting etc? Then you can mention these and say that you're upgrading all aspects of your life, not just your dress. And if anyone tries raking up the past, tell them that you've asked for forgiveness from Allah and that the matter lies with Him now.

Obviously, the cousins who've seen you as a little girl must be startled to see you observing purdah from them. Somehow, people think that if you're observing purdah from someone, that means you think they have a "loose" character or that you think you're in danger of being raped by them or something. You can remove this concept by saying that Allah has a standard code of conduct for everyone in all situations, it is not about everyone around you but about YOU.

Anonymous,  October 15, 2010 at 8:52 AM  

Assalam alaikum comment girl,

I've actually started doin the things you suggested!!

Well, and Alhamdulillah, I am trying my best to improve myself in all things..prayers, avoiding haraam etc. I didn't face problem in other things.

And after asking this question here, my younger brother understood and Masha Allah he has supported me a lot. I hope he also changes for good soon!!

I'm persisting in good, and people are accepting it. Slowly, but yes, they are!!

Anonymous,  April 3, 2011 at 9:22 AM  

I know a site discussing boys issue.. or well.. everybody issue not specifically girls issue. Its a dear uncle sorta website. Its. :)

Ummati May 23, 2011 at 6:43 PM  


i am in the exact same situation most of the time.

with my phupa (father's sister's husband)

at first they used to get soo offended, and be like- you dont need to wear nikaab in frnt of him, he's JUST ur phupa. the first time they got all indignant on me, literally i was shocked into speechlessness for a second. They were demanding 'Where is it written that you need to cover your face in frnt of your phupa?' etc. Obviously I knew it is proved in the quran- but sometimes when someone talks to you so aggressively, esp someone frm the family- for a moment.. you just flounder :P

Anyhow- I recovered and told her gently that this isn't something I'm doing on my own (to spite them, God forbid- for some unknown reason!) but because Allah SWT has asked me to. And if you want, I'll show you proof.

Anyhow..I think they have sort of accepted it, whenever they come to visit- i put on my abaya and nikaab and say salam. and sit and talk with my aunt.

I'm quite used to it, as in uni- I am in this garb for extended periods of time. And Alhumdulilah ppl have gotten used to it too! :P

though ofcourse it takes time, perseverance, and them realizing this point is not under negotiation :D

So I guess you just have to stand firm, like dear little auntie said :), and not take off the nikaab because someone tells u to, ever!

What is always boils down to- ofcourse is: Would we rather please Allah SWT or the people?

It is obviously a great help that my family supports me and encourages me! And alhumdulilah my sisters have recently started taking nikaab themselves :) and their husbands, masha Allah, understand completely that I cannot come in front of them without nikaab!

Oh and the issue of someone suddenly barging in u- though I too am caught unaware at times :(, what i try to do is keep a big chaadar (literally its quite a big dupatta :P) close at hand. So should someone suddenly decide to pay me a visit, I am prepared!

When someone reminds you of your sinful past, just smile and say- Alhumdulilah Allah SWT guided me! :)

People expect you to become all defensive, and being extra polite and humble just sets them off. They can't say anything in response to ALhumdulilah, right?

Sometimes, this precipitates from their own guilt- that they're not/cant do what you've masha Allah done. Become strong, and embraced hidayah alhumdulilah!

At parties.. if u absolutely CANNOT avoid a party, and they happen to be mixed, then u can either don an abaya n nikaab, or get one of those pretty scarves and do nikaab with them! they look amazing, and u dont stand out either. You can you-tube how to, insha Allah :)

.. and insha Allah, when you get married, try your best that the gatherings you hold in your home are segregated. brothers in one room, and sisters in one room. believe me, it is SO much more fun that way! not to mention there's a much more relaxed atmosphere.

May Allah SWT guide us all, and shower us with His Mercy! :) Ameen.

Ummati May 23, 2011 at 6:48 PM  

Oh I just realized comment girl covered the chaadar idea, alhumdulilah :)

Ummati May 23, 2011 at 6:53 PM  

Oh and hats off to the dear little aunties for all they're doing here!

All the posts are so well thought out, n so practical :)

All I can say is Masha Allah! May Allah SWT keep you all guided, safe and grant you success in the Hereafter. Ameen! :)

Blue Pilot January 24, 2012 at 11:44 PM  

I'd like to get in touch with the sister who posted this question. I am also from India and am in the SAME situation as hers.. and I would love to have a friend and a a support.. JazaakumAllah khayr dear little auntie, could you please do something about that?

Zooney Looney March 4, 2014 at 1:45 PM  

What does ‘Brother-in-law is death” mean?

Little Auntie March 8, 2014 at 2:58 AM  

That's a great question, Zooney Looney. It means that the most danger that can happen can happen from the in-laws, BECAUSE people act like they are blood relatives, while they are not.
“The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, particularly warned women concerning Khulwah (being alone) with male-in-laws such as the husband's brother or cousin, since people are quite negligent in this regard, sometimes with disastrous consequences. It is obvious that a relative has easier access than a stranger to a woman's quarters, something concerning which no one would question him and making temptation that much easier.
In explaining the meaning of "“the in-law is death,” Ibn al-Atheer says, "It is an Arabic figure of speech like, 'The lion is death' or 'The king is fire,' which means that meeting a lion is similar to facing death and a confrontation with a king is like being in the fire. Thus, privacy between an in-law and a woman is far more dangerous than in the case of a stranger...

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Asalamu aialkum!
Well, what do you think? You know, you're part of the team, as well. Please help a sister out and share your own advice/experiences/etc. One for all and all for one =)
P.S. I reserve the right to remove any disrespectful comment ;)

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